Are canned fruit and vegetables nutritious?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Canned fruits and vegetables offer comparable nutrition to other forms of fruit and vegetables.
WHAT WE KNOW
Canned fruit and vegetables (including beans like kidney beans) offer a convenient, affordable way for Americans to achieve a healthy diet. When it comes to nutrition, all forms of fruits and vegetables matter.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
Canned fruits and vegetables are picked at peak ripeness and quality and shipped to local canneries to be cleaned, chopped, peeled and/or stemmed (if necessary). Once the fruits and vegetables are packed in cans, they are quickly heated to preserve the contents and to create an airtight seal to keep food fresh and safe until eaten.
Cooking fruits and vegetables does not destroy fiber or minerals. Most fat-soluble nutrients, including carotenoids, vitamin A, and vitamin E are actually higher in canned fruit and vegetables, in part because the mild heat treatment during canning allows for greater bioavailability of these fat-soluble nutrients.¹ It is true that the canning process can lower water soluble nutrients like vitamins B and C in canned fruits and vegetables. But overall, the nutrients in canned fruits and vegetables tend to be relatively stable because they are protected from the deteriorating effects of oxygen.²
Canned vegetables contribute less than 1% of the sodium intake in the typical American diet. For those who might be concerned about sodium, remember that simply draining and rinsing canned vegetables can eliminate as much as 40% of the sodium. Or simply buy ‘no-sodium’ or ‘low sodium’ varieties of canned vegetables that are readily available. Similarly, canned fruit contributes less than 2% of the added sugar in most American diets. To avoid added sugar, you can drain and rinse your canned fruit or select fruit packed in water or 100% juice.
Having all forms of fruits and vegetables on hand – canned, frozen, fresh, dried, and 100% juice – makes nutritious foods accessible, convenient, and ready to use when preparing meals and snacks.
Buying a combination of fresh, canned, frozen, dried, and 100% juice maximizes nutrition, minimizes waste, saves money, and assures there’s always a variety of fruits and vegetables available.
¹ Rickman, J., D. Barrett, and C. Bruhn. “Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Vitamin A and carotenoids, vitamin E, minerals and fiber.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Vol. 87. Issue 7, pp 1185-1196, May 2007.
² Rickman, J., D. Barrett, and C. Bruhn. “Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Part I. Vitamins C and B and phenolic compounds.” Journal of the Science of food and Agriculture, Vol. 87. Issue 6, pp 930-944, 2007, April 2007.